The 2023 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) announced this year’s film award winners and the National Geographic Documentary film Wild Life, directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, which opened the festival, was voted Audience Award Winner. Wild Life follows conservationist Kris Tompkins and her husband, entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins, on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting.
Other top prizes went to Fancy Dance, directed by Erica Tremblay for Best Narrative Feature Film, and Nascondino, directed by Victoria Fiore won Best Documentary Feature Film.
Special awards included Josh Brolin receiving the Vision Award, Emilio Estevez receiving the Pioneer Award, Rising Star Award honoree Sophie Thatcher and Creative Impact Honoree in Producing Nina Yang Bongiovi, presented by Variety.
Complete list of winners of Film Awards at 2023 Sun Valley Film Festival
Audience Award Winner
WINNER: Wild Life, directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin.
Best Narrative Feature Film
WINNER: Fancy Dance, directed by Erica Tremblay and Produced by Variety’s Creative Impact in Producing Award recipient Nina Yang Bongiovi.
Best Documentary Feature Film
WINNER: Nascondino, directed by Victoria Fiore
One in a Million Awards – The One in a Million Awards honor feature length stories made for under one million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film are each awarded.
NARRATIVE WINNER: Fremont, directed by Rachael Fung
DOCUMENTARY WINNER: Bad Press, directed by Joe Peeler
The SVShorty Award – The best short film across all categories. All shorts are eligible for this award.
WINNER: Walk Of Shame, directed by Dane Ray
SPECIAL MENTION: A Folded Ocean, directed by Ben Brewer
The Gem State Award – The best short film made in Idaho.
WINNER: A Parent, directed by Eve Weston and Martin McGreevy
SVFF Film & Screenwriting Competition Winners
High Scribe Award – The High Scribe honors an emerging voice in screenwriting with Academy Award Winning screenwriter Will McCormack and co-writers of Fancy Dance, Miciana Alise and Erica Tremblay.
WINNER: The First Michael, written by Michael Buonocore
Sun Valley Junior Filmmaker Awards – Showcases student-made films and encourages students in their craft, storytelling and self-expression.
HOT SHOT WINNER: Clairvoyant, written by Elijah Anthony Feigner
2nd PLACE: Room 101, written by Jerad Monasch
3rd PLACE: A tie between Ovaryacting written by Jordan Held& Hard Core written by Madeleine Case
The Gem State Jr. Award – The best short film made in Idaho by a Junior Filmmaker. The films in the Idaho Shorts program are eligible for this award.
WINNER: Pong, written by Fynn Erman